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Not just fun and games

Danial Norjidi

Excellence in the mobile games industry was celebrated during the Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards 2022.

According to the Awards website, the Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards was established “to celebrate the businesses and individuals who are driving the USD90 billion mobile games industry forward”.

“We shine a light on every part of the ecosystem, from the game developers and publishers through the advertising and monetisation companies, to the tool-makers and support companies that enable the magic to happen,” the website explained. “We also pay homage to true industry legends who have made their mark on this industry.”

This year’s winner of the Game of the Year award was Beatstar – Touch Your Music, a rhythm game played by tapping and swiping on a mobile phone, developed by Space Ape Games.

Space Ape Games also won Best Developer, which the Awards website explains is an accolade for “any mobile games company with 11 or more staff that has released a game, or successfully grown an existing game, during the last year, as well as expanded their business and made an impact on the industry through innovation, creativity and other initiatives.”

Meanwhile, the Pocket Gamer People’s Choice Award was won by Cookie Run: Kingdom, an action role-playing game and city-builder from Devsisters.

The People’s Choice Award is the only award nominated and voted for by consumers, and recognises the best new game to have received a full release during the previous year.

Screencap of Cookie Run: Kingdom. PHOTO: DANIAL NORJIDI

Action role-playing game Genshin Impact by HoYoverse won the Best Audio/Visual Accomplishment accolade while the Best Indie Developer award was won by inkle and Best Publisher went to Kwalee.

Two winners were named in the Best Storytelling category, namely Alien: Isolation by Feral Interactive and The Oregon Trail by Gameloft Brisbane.

Alien: Isolation is a survival horror game based on the Alien film series and set 15 years after the events of the original film from 1979, while The Oregon Trail is a new title in the long-running game series of the same name and is described as “a modern twist on the trials and tribulations of the road to Oregon”.

The Best Innovation category also saw two winners named – GamesForest.Club and Playing for the Planet’s Green Game Jam.

GamesForest.Club is a non-profit initiative to support the games- and creative industries to invest in carbon absorption via planting and protecting forests, while Playing for the Planet’s Green Game Jam is an initiative that highlights the critical role of forests and oceans in the fights against biodiversity loss and climate change, with the aim of having participating studios innovate on games with existing player bases.

Endless runner game Subway Surfers by SYBO Games won the award for Best Live Ops. This accolade “recognises the impact of significant updates, in-game events or excellent community management over the last year for games released in 2021 or before, that have helped take a game to the next level and sustain a title’s life”.

The Best Game Engine award, which is “open to third-party tech companies that provide game engines that are instrumental in powering mobile games development”, was won by Unity, while Unity Ads won the Best Advertising and UA accolade, which is for “companies that support the ecosystem through enabling user acquisition or monetisation via advertising, and are helping games and developers in this fast-moving business to grow their audience”.

Sensor Tower won the Best Analytics/Data Tool award, which is for “a company that assists developers and publishers in developing their games and running marketing campaigns through analytics tools and/or providing data on market performance”.

Meanwhile, GameSparks / AWS GameTech won the Best GAAS Tools and Tech award, which “recognises the companies that are supporting live games on the market through back-end services to ensure game servers run smoothly and help developers implement both special and crucial online features”.

AWS GameTech also won the award for Best Tools Provider, which is for “any company providing dedicated tools for developers that assist in the creation of games for mobile platforms”.

In addition, the award for Best Recruitment Agency went to Amiqus; Best Service Provider was won by Xsolla; TransPerfect won Best QA and Localisation Service Provider; Tilting Point won Best PR/Marketing Team; Matchmade received the Best Influencer Marketing Agency award; and Play Ventures won Investor of the Year. The award for Best Challenger App Store went to the Samsung Galaxy Store.

According to the awards website, “As mobile continues its expansion into new markets, and Google Play Store and Apple App Store open up a little, third-party app stores become an ever more important part of the industry.

“This award celebrates the other portals that have done the most to grow and innovate during last year.”

Also presented at the event was the Rising Star award, which was won by Growth Product Manager at Niantic Karla Reyes.

This special accolade “recognises individuals from any corner of the globe who have demonstrated a considerable amount of success, influence, and impact despite their relatively recent arrival within the mobile games industry”.

Another highlight of the event was the presentation of the Mobile Legend award, which went to Chief Creative Officer of ustwogames Daniel Gray.

This accolade is a special lifetime achievement award that “recognises a person from anywhere in the world who has achieved a considerable amount of success in their career and has acted as a pioneer in the mobile games space”.